Recruitment and HR Blog
Eight ways to make your recruitment processes more inclusive
With National Inclusion Week 2023 taking place between the 25th September and the 1st October, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on how inclusive your organisation’s processes are when it comes to recruitment.
Inclusivity is important from a legal perspective but also for ensuring organisations are performing at their best by attracting employees with diverse viewpoints and ideas. So here are some pointers to help you think about how inclusive your recruitment processes are currently, and to consider what other action you could take.
1.Use inclusive language and images
Be aware of your word choices in your job title and throughout your job advert (and also in any other documentation such as job descriptions). Are you using any words that might have a disproportionate impact on different demographics? Think about the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010 and consider whether any words or phrases might not be appropriate to use. For instance, research shows there are masculine-coded words (like ‘strong’ and ‘competitive’) that are likely to discourage female applicants so aim to keep your language as neutral as possible.
Check the images you are using as well, both those accompanying the job advert but also in other places where candidates are likely to be looking, such as on your website and careers pages. Are those images helping to showcase the diversity of your organisation - or are they telling a different story?
2.Consider what your job advert really needs to say
Be careful about what you are asking for in the advert as it’s easy to lose focus on what will genuinely be needed from the successful applicant before they commence in the role and to start coming up with a list of what is desirable instead.
It’s important to provide an accurate reflection of what the role is like but make sure that the desire to impart lots of useful information to attract the right candidates doesn’t turn into a long list of wants that puts applicants off. Stick to genuine, specific and ideally behaviour-based requirements.
3.Offer as much flexibility as possible
It’s obviously not an option for every vacancy but the more flexibility you can offer over choices such as working location or working hours, the more it opens the position up to applicants of different backgrounds.Ensure that any options around flexibility are clearly highlighted on your job adverts so potential applicants know about them straight away and don’t exclude themselves on the assumption that there isn’t any flexibility.
4.Share the salary
Be as precise about the salary as possible. Research shows that some demographic groups are less likely to negotiate over salary than others so the more specific you can be up front, the less likely it is that an individual will be disadvantaged at the point of a job offer.
5.Think about where you are placing your advert
Post your advert in as many places as you can to increase the chances of it being seen by marginalised groups, including on demographic-specific job boards if you are trying to increase the number of applications from a particular group. If you only post your vacancy to one or two job boards, you are far less likely to reach a wide and diverse audience.
6.Share the real-life experiences of employees
Do you have any role models or positive stories about inclusivity that you can highlight on your website and throughout social media? When would-be applicants are considering your vacancy and deciding if they want to apply, they will be looking at various sources of information. If they can see genuine evidence of the kind of inclusive culture you have, it’s going to encourage them to go ahead and apply.
7.Make the selection process as accessible as possible
There are many ways in which you might be able to make your selection process more accessible.
Actively check with candidates about any reasonable adjustments needed during the selection process and be as flexible as possible when it comes to the interview stage. This could include offering video interviews rather than requiring candidates to physically be in the same room as interviewers, or asking applicants whether there are certain times of the day that would be easiest for them to attend rather than being prescriptive about available interview slots.
Help candidates to demonstrate their skills by holding structured skill-based interviews that help to reduce the risk of unconscious bias and enable them to be compared against one another more fairly. Consider other sources of information too, such as relevant pre-employment tests, to give candidates who might find an interview format challenging other ways to demonstrate their capabilities.